On January 12, 2010 a devastating 7.0 earthquake shook Haiti for 39 seconds and did incredible damage not only to the country’s structures in the capital city of Port au Prince but to individuals who lost family members and their livelihoods but not their spirit and determination. Like so many who turned on the news on this day five years ago, sending money to trusted organizations that had people on the ground providing relief didn’t seem like enough but I never could have imagined that Haiti would be a country that I would visit, let alone fall in love with and beckon me back year after year.
Every year since 2011 I’ve traveled to Haiti. During my past 3 trips (and a 4th trip with my daughter, Emily, in February) I’ve had the privilege of meeting the most incredible individuals whose art and spirit inspires me more with each visit. Individuals like Jonas, Rony Jacques, Chena Gilles, Satyr, Moro Boruk, Christelle Paul, Yvette Celéstin, Jean Baptiste, Pascale Faublas and so many more have shown me the importance of supporting small business owners through conscious shopping and the purchase of fair trade goods and ethical fashion made in Haiti.
Fair trade and ethically made goods means that artisans receive fair wages for their work. Through the creation and sale of these items, artists have been rebuilding their lives. Money earned truly makes the difference in their lives as they support their family and are able to achieve their dreams since every dollar spent helps rebuild lives.
Supporting Haiti by learning about it with your purchasing power is one of the best ways you can continue to help a country that is still in recovery. When individuals have money, they have choices.
Here are some of my favorite places to shop that provide fair wages to Haitian artists and make me feel good about purchasing handmade pieces that represent ethical fashion for me and my home.
Shop to Support Haiti
- Macy’s Heart of Haiti— The purchase of any item from the Heart of Haiti collection helps artists preserve their cultural history, restore their homes, and rebuild their communities. It also helps the artists send their children to school because public education in Haiti doesn’t exist. Those we visited view education as a way to earn more money to create better lives for their children but need the income from the sale of these products to pay for tuition, uniforms, and other school fees. To shop the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, visit Macys.com or visit the following retail locations around the country: Macy’s Herald Square, Brooklyn Downtown, Metro Center, Chicago State Street, Northland Center, Seattle Downtown, Portland Downtown, San Francisco Union Square, Biltmore Fashion Park, South Coast Plaza home, Mission Valley Home, Dallas Galleria, Lenox Square Mall, and Dadeland Mall.
- 100 Good Deeds Bracelet —Wearing a 100 Good Deeds bracelet is a fashion statement a reminder to do a #DeedADay in 2015, and a purchase with a purpose that makes a difference in the lives of women around the world. This simple but stunning bracelet strung with 100 beads by HIV positive and economically fragile women in Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Haiti, India, and Bali. Proceeds from 1GD bracelets are reinvested in the program to provide more women and girls with more training in more countries. The package containing each bracelet is signed by the woman who made it and shares where she lives. I love that the two bracelets I purchased most recently were made by women in Haiti!
- Global Goods Partners— It’s hard to resist buying one of everything especially knowing that you’re supporting their mission of alleviating poverty and promoting social justice through the purchase of handmade jewelry, accessories, and products for home and family from around the world. This treasure trove of a site provides a wide variety of products to meet every budget and style that makes it hard to click away without making a single purchase. To know where an item is from, visit the product page and click on the Impact button (next to the Description button) to read how the sale of the product benefits the individuals who created it.
- To the Market— Jane Mosbacher Morris, founder of To the Market, has a mission of showcasing “handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease.” Launched this fall, To the Market brings goods to the market while employing survivors and providing economic independence while raising awareness about the personal challenges they face daily. Shop by goods (accessories, apparel, bags, home goods, jewelry, or shoes), causes (abuse, alleviation of poverty, disease, exploitation, genocide, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, orphanhood, and war widows), or by country to search for items directly benefitting individuals in Haiti.
Learn About Haiti
Whether Haiti is on your bucket list or you’re just curious to know more about the country and the people, my Findery profile is a great place to start. I’ve compiled notes about the artists I’ve met with information about where to find them when you go through my Help Haiti Through Conscious Shopping notemap.
Donate to Haiti’s Future via Heifer International
Our family is longtime supporters of Heifer because we believe in the important work they do around the world to empower communities in developing farms, build businesses, and provide educational opportunities. Heifer’s REACH: Rural Entrepreneurs for Agriculture Cooperation in Haiti program aims to strengthen the livelihood of Haitians who depend on livestock. Since half of the country’s population works in agriculture but imports half of its food needs, REACH seeks to build up local populations of goats, cattle, poultry, and pigs through the creation of family run breeding centers, increased food production and soil systems, training in disaster preparedness to keep animals healthy and safe, and education in environmental protection efforts. Donations to Heifer for REACH will help over 100,000 people through the largest animal project in Haiti’s history.
To read more about my past trips to Haiti, visit the #Bloggers4Haiti section of my site.
No compensation was received for this post. I have been personally funding the majority of my expenses for my trips to Haiti for the past 4 years with some scholarship money from Everywhere.